I’ve enjoyed reading Clay Scroggins’ book, Leading When You Are Not in Charge. In Chapter 4 he writes about “the hall pass.” Did you ever get a hall pass in school? You could wander the halls, hang out at your locker, peek into other classrooms, and chew gum if you wanted to. If someone attempted to stop you, all you had to do was hold up the hall pass.
The hall pass had a negative side. It gave you an “out.” In other words, it excused your behavior while you were in the hall. I fear many people today are living a “hall pass” kind of life. They want an out. They invent an excuse for almost everything. They seldom take responsibility for themselves. They live with a victim’s mentality.
I believe 5 words help us both avoid the hall pass mentality and equip us to live the life we want. Are you ready? You are responsible for you. This statement means your boss is not responsible for you. Your spouse is not responsible for you. Your family doctor is not responsible for you. You are responsible for you. Or in Clay Scroggin’s words, “You are in charge of you.”
These 5 Words Are Biblical
I think this is what the Bible has in mind when Galatians 6:5 states, “We each must carry our own load.” Yes, there will be many opportunities in your life when you help shoulder someone else’s burden because you choose to. But there are a multitude of duties that only you can carry out. For example, you are in charge of what you believe. You are responsible for your actions and feelings. You are responsible for your body. You are in charge of your viewpoints. You are responsible for your own happiness. You are in charge of your work ethic. You get the picture.
A Mark of Character
“You are responsible for you” is a character trait. Shouldering personal responsibility makes you a mature person. Taking responsibility for yourself is the way you own and reclaim your life. Admittedly there might have been life circumstances and family background issues that have influenced you, but ultimately, you are responsible for the person you become.
An Act of Loving Yourself
When you were a newborn, other people took care of you. All you had to do was eat, cry, and poop. But as we move toward adulthood, we learn to take responsibility for getting our needs met. Seen this way, then, responsibility is an act of caring for yourself. If you care, you will take the necessary actions that you are called to perform. You are being true to yourself. You are expressing respect for the sacredness of your life. You are honoring the person God wants you to become.
The Best Way to Be a “Happy Camper”
Jerry McGuire was not correct when he told Dorothy Boyd, “You complete me.” If you leave your happiness in someone else’s hands, you’ll end up becoming dependent on them, and when they let you down or they don’t meet your expectations, you will feel angry. Other people—your spouse, your kids, your boss, your teacher—don’t exist to make you happy. You are responsible for your own happiness. It’s a giant step toward maturity when we wrap our brains around this truth.
The Only Way to Develop a Personal Faith
James 4:17 says, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” This Bible verse speaks of our accountability for our personal sin. (Sin is a Bible word for all the times we have thumbed our noses at God’s standards.) The Bible goes on to teach us that the consequences of our personal sin is separation from God (see Romans 6:23). Why does God have the right to set standards for your behavior? Simply because He made you.
But God, in His goodness and great love, has acted to provide forgiveness for our sinfulness. Jesus, God in the flesh, died a sacrificial death on a Roman cross. Jesus took upon Himself the punishment for sin that we deserved.
When we take responsibility for our sin, and trust (fully commit ourselves to) what Jesus did on that cross for us, we enter into a personal relationship with God. So, you see, even the step of developing a personal faith (salvation) begins with personal responsibility.